Reese Kaplan -- Opening Day 2016 Roster Projection

While everyone is obsessing over the soon-to-start 2015 season, another year in the books should prove good for the maturation of the Mets roster.  There will be more changes afoot next year, though perhaps not as many as you might think.

Starting Lineup

1B           Lucas Duda – It would take a worse than Ike Davis type of swan dive for Duda to lose his spot at 1st base.  First of all, there’s no one behind him other than teammates Michael Cuddyer and possibly Wilmer Flores.  Kevin Plawecki could play there but low power first basemen are a rare commodity. 
2B           Wilmer Flores – it’s a fait accompli that they will not be retaining the services of Daniel Murphy.  He’s expensive and on a good day only adequate in the field.  He doesn’t have enough power to justify a long term investment when there are other options available.  I’ve been squarely in Flores’ camp offensively for some time now, but I understand his limitations in the field.  Towards that end I anticipate a shift of Flores from SS to 2B. 
SS           Matt Reynolds – this Spring Reynolds opened up quite a few eyes with the stinging line drives coming off his bat.  Assuming he can maintain a steady pace in Las Vegas this year I would anticipate a move into the left side of the Mets infield. 
3B           David Wright – he’ll be there regardless of how well or poorly he does in 2015. 
LF            Michael Cuddyer – if he’s healthy then he’ll likely return for the final year of his deal playing primarily in the OF and spelling Lucas Duda at 1B against some left handed pitchers.
CF           Juan Lagares – you could make a case that after David Wright he’s the second most popular offensive player on the team (though more for his glove and arm than his bat).  He’ll be a fixture there until free agency hits.
RF           Curtis Granderson – there are 16 million reasons he’ll be back in the outfield.  Hopefully he earns his paycheck this year and then no one will be complaining about it in 2016.

Starting Rotation

SP           Matt Harvey – if you think everyone’s excited about his return this year, expectations will be sky high for 2016 given he’s another year removed from surgery.  Cy Young talk will fill the airwaves and the blogs.
SP           Jacob de Grom – your second ace will continue to make the job look ridiculously easy.  He’ll be the Tom Glavine to Harvey’s Greg Maddux. 
SP           Rafael Montero – this name may come as a surprise, but remember the whole Super Two situation with Mssrs. Syndergaard and Matz.  While everyone is clamoring for them to come up in 2015, there’s no room in the rotation for either one of them (barring injuries and/or…what’s that little used vehicle called again…oh yeah, trades).  Consequently if they go through the year without promoting either of them from Las Vegas then they’ll be held back to start the season.
SP           Jon Niese – if healthy, he’ll be the initial lefty in the rotation but he may be moved once Matz makes it to Queens.  His contract is still reasonably priced and a healthy 2014 would go a long way towards increasing his value.
SP           Matt Bowman – again, with the future pair of prospective aces toiling in Las Vegas until the Super Two deadline passes, an under-the-radar type like Bowman may be brought up to fill the void for the first 3-4 weeks of the season.  The projection is that he won’t be earning the kind of money Syndergaard and Matz will command, hence they could promote him to start the season without regard to Super Two status as they did with Rafael Montero during 2014. 


RP           Bobby Parnell – a year removed from his surgery, I would expect the closer’s role would revert to the less flamboyant strikeout artist who lost it not due to incompetence but neck and arm trouble. 
RP           Jeurys Familia – he’s the heir apparent for the closer’s job.
RP           Dario Alvarez – I’m guessing a year with Frank Viola tutoring him in the fine art of control will get him into a late inning role.
RP           Jack Leathersich – Viola’s magic may or may not take, but I’m guessing he’ll at least get a chance to play a major role in the pen.
RP           Carlos Torres – steady as ever and a rubber arm, Torres will return to his long man role.
RP           Akeel Morris may jump all the way to the majors if he can even come close to what he did in 2014.

You’ll note several names not on the list.  They include:
  • Zack Wheeler – he’ll still be recovering from his TJS.
  • Josh Edgin – same situation as Wheeler.
  • Vic Black – it looks as if he may be the next one going under the knife.
  • Jenrry Mejia – not liking his increasing price and showmanship, he’ll be shipped out of town in a trade.
  • Bartolo Colon – gone as a free agent if not traded during the 2015 season.
  • Dillon Gee – a non-tender candidate a’la Mike Pelfrey, me may price himself out of a job if they find no takers for a trade.
  • Daniel Murphy – same situation as Bartolo Colon.
  • Brandon Nimmo -- I don’t foresee Brandon Nimmo forcing any of the incumbent outfielders to the bench.  
  • Kevin Plawecki  -- he's not likely pushing Travis d’Arnaud aside (and they probably value TdA’s home run swing more than they do the higher batting average Plawecki would provide). 
  • Michael Conforto -- he's a very dark horse to make the club but that would necessitate finding a new home for one of the outfielders.  His bat will have to show a lot of power to make that vacancy happen.  
  • Dilson Herrera -- I'm not off his bandwagon, but I predict he is going to repeat AAA (at least to start the year) as he is still very young and looked overmatched this Spring.  
Finally, I think Terry Collins has served his final season as the Mets manager.  Anything short of a post-season appearance is a pretty sure bet they won't exercise his option.  Even a wildcard berth may not save him as they may feel he has gone as far as he can take the club and it's time to bring in a fresh approach.


Thomas Brennan said...

I was hoping Danny Muno would replace Wright at 3B by opening day 2016 :)

Interestingly, Alderson said they will look at Reynolds at 2B, but Flores is, I reat, our shortstop. I saw Wilmer make a few plays yesterday...looked good to me. Small sample.

Ernest Dove said...

Id like to think that syndergaard year 2 in PCL will mirror what degrom did his second time around, so I strongly believe hes in april 2016 rotation, along with Matz, who will hopefully have a full 2015 season of aaa starts under his belt already. (PRojected higher then montero so don't waste any more aaa starts.
And lets hope Dilson does just fine after a full aaa season as well and slides into starters role at 2B.

Richard Jones said...

Super Two and other considerations other than winning do have a role in the makeup of a roster However if the Mets start the 2016 season with Sydergaard and Matz still in the minors and Bowman and Montero in the starting rotation then they will be sending a message to their fans that winning plays absolutely no role.
Most experts have the Mets as a fringe playoff team for 2015. In 2016 they should be a playoff team barring injuries. We can't predict injuries. Everyone had Wheeler as part of the 2015 rotation. Injuries can make your rotation prediction for 2016 happen but that is the only way it happens.
If the Mets have the good fortune of having no more injuries to their rotation and things go as projected for either Syndergaard or Matz or both you can count on a mid season trade to clear a stop for one of them. Other teams will need pitching.
I really can't see anyway Syndergaard starts a 3rd season in AAA.

Thomas Brennan said...

@ Richard Jones
I am with you on Matz and Thor. I think we'll see them both in the bigs by July 2015 in fact. Both will force the issue.

Steve from Norfolk said...

I'm wondering if Matz may go north with the ream - in the bullpen. The only reasons for keeping him up when Syndegaard has already been sent down are:

1) There is a very quiet trade for Niese in the works
2) He's being looked at for the bullpen

They might bring him up if someone besides Niese is traded, but I doubt it. Two lefties in the rotation would be nice, but Matz could benefit from some more time in AAA. I;m sure we'll see him around the ASB, or earlier if Niese has shoulder problems.

As for Conforto, I think he may be in LF next year. Cuddyer is already showing signs of wear and tear. I see him as nore of asub next year getting close to a full-timer's AB's as the 4th outfielder, Duda's LH platoon partner, and backing up Wright (I only expect the Cap'n to play around 140 games next year).
Conforto opened some eyes this spring. We'll see him sooner rather than later.

Mack Ade said...

I don't see Sandy Alderson altering the future of Matz.

He and Syndergaard are projected to start the 2016 season in the rotation and I don't think Alderson will mess with that this year.

Mack Ade said...

Steve -

Let's first see where Conforto starts off this season.

There is quite the log jam of meh outfielders ahead of him and, if the Mets try to keep all of them in the system, there will be barely rook for him in St. Lucie.

Steve from Norfolk said...


You're probably right. I just feel that next year Sandy's going to have to make a push next year, and he's more likely to accelerate a hitting prospect like Conforto than use a tactic that is foreign to hin - the dreaded major league level trade! I understand why he traded Pagan (soon-to-be salary increase + free agency in 1 year) What I can't understand is he didn't bring up Nieuwenhuis instead of taking Torres in that trade. He was the heir apparent, and played a better CF.

Anyway to close out on Conforto, I just feel that what I suggested is a good move if he wants to increase our power. Just imagine what it would do for our bench to have a power hitter like Cuddyer available for pinch-hitting, and a bat like Conforto's in the lineup! Even if Conforto was the 4th OF, and available to pinch-hit, it's still a good move.

Mack Ade said...

I'm not a big fan of holding talent back.

Conforto should be starting this spring in St. Lucie regardless of how many outfielders are ahead of him.

Just move one of the less talented players back to Savannah. It's been done before.

Richard Jones said...

If your running a team you have to treat your top prospects differently. With players like Conforto, Nimo, and other potential impact players you have to place them at the level that will be best for their development. Every other player has to be placed around those players. There aren't three outfielders at any level worth holding Conforto back. I'm certain he will be placed at the level the Mets think will be best for him. Not where there is room. They will make room.

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree with Richard. This Conforto fella was a high first round, experienced selection. They will move him as fast as he can handle it.

cocoabeachnut said...

The one thing this look into the future omits is what we might obtain in the way of trades now that we have accumulated a number of valuable chips in the minors. I know there's no way to pencil in the unknown but the opportunity to acquire talent from the outside cannot be overlooked.

Reese Kaplan said...

Under Sandy Alderson how many trades have been made that weren't just salary dumps? What you see is what you get with very minor tinkering.

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